Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Americans Not Saving for a Rainy Day

Disturbing results from the 2009 National Financial Capability Study: Only 49 percent of Americans have an emergency or "rainy day" fund--an amount of money set aside that could cover three months of expenses if they get sick or lose their job.

Even more worrisome, a strikingly large percentage of Americans are likely to need a rainy day fund, according to the NBER report on the survey's findings (Americans' Financial Capability, NBER Working Paper 17103, $5). The percentage of Americans who had experienced a large decline in their income in the past 12 months ranged from 33 percent among those with a rainy day fund to 40 percent of respondents without a fund. Those are big numbers, and they reveal the vulnerability of many Americans to financial shocks.

The percentage with a rainy day fund ranges from a low of 31 percent among 18-to-29-year-olds, climbs to about 50 percent among 30-to-59-year-olds, and peaks at 64 percent among people aged 60 or older.

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